Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
Matt 25:1-13 (ESV)
The parable of the ten virgins is very important for all of us who are waiting for the bridegroom today because it speaks to the terminal generation. These are the people who will be alive when the Lord returns to the Earth. We need to pay close attention to its message because it warns us that just being a member of the body of Christ does not guarantee a place at the marriage supper of the lamb; it clearly tells us that some people will be disqualified. This parable raises some obvious questions that deserve answers such as: Why didn’t all the virgins prepare the same way? Why didn’t the foolish virgins take extra oil? How did the wise virgins know that they might need extra oil? Why weren’t the foolish virgins admitted after their return? The purpose of this series is to closely examine this parable and related topics in order to glean from it what went wrong and what went right. These gleanings are intended to be a resource for the body of Christ who want to be ready when the Lord returns; it will be a wise virgin’s guide (WVG) to waiting for the Bridegroom.
Many people have tried to establish a date of Jesus’ return, and every one of these efforts has ended in failure. This has also made many unbelievers skeptical of the claims of Christianity; they doubt if we know what we are talking about. Those in the church who subscribed to a date set for the Lord’s return have also been discouraged; some may have even suffered shipwreck in their faith from this. This guide will not attempt to set a date for the Lord’s return, but it will only point to signs of the times we are to look for before the Lord’s return and what we need to do to be ready. Scripture tells us that:
From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near. So also, when you see all these things, you know that he is near, at the very gates. Truly, I say to you, this generation will not pass away until all these things take place. Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.
Matt 24:32-35 (ESV)
This is a clear indication that certain events must happen before the end comes, and that there will be a generation of people who will witness these events. I believe that we are that generation. Now that I have said this, it would be logical for my readers to ask “why do you say that?” Let’s look at what is happening in the heavens even now.
The word of God tells us about signs in the heavens in the first book of the Bible “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years’” Gen 1:14 (ESV). Signs in the heavens will precede the most important event prophesied in Scripture, which is the return of Jesus to this world. We are obviously witnessing signs in the heavens today. This year (2014) there will be two blood moons; one will occur on Passover and one on Feast of Tabernacles, and next year (2015) there will be two blood moons on the same Jewish feast dates again. These four blood moons are known as a tetrad, and they have also occurred on other important dates of Jewish history, such as the expulsion of the Jews from Spain by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, the rebirth of Israel as an independent nation, and the Israeli capture of all Jerusalem during the Six Day War. Since the blood moons appear on Jewish festivals, it negates the argument that this is just some random natural event; God is using these signs in the heavens to tell people important events are about to take place and to make necessary preparations. Jesus also mentioned signs in the heavens when He described the end times to His disciples:
Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
Matt 24:29-31 (ESV)
Other New Testament writers also mention signs in the heavens. Peter’s sermon in Jerusalem mentions: “the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day” Acts 2:20 (ESV).
John tells us “When he opened the sixth seal, I looked, and behold, there was a great earthquake, and the sun became black as sackcloth, the full moon became like blood” Rev 6:12 (ESV).
There is obviously more evidence to present than just these signs, but I offer them as a starting point. God gave us the Scriptures in which He declared the end from the beginning. Since He is omniscient and does not lie, we ought to pay close attention to what the Bible tells us. I wish more people would do this, but reality paints a different picture.
The Bible is consistently the best seller year after year, but don’t expect the New York Times to publicize that fact. There are Bibles, or at least portions of Scripture, in homes and hotels across America. One would think that since the Bible sells so many copies every year it must be the most widely read book in America; unfortunately that is not the case. In spite of its sales and widespread availability, the Bible is not seriously studied and mined for its spiritual wealth by most people. Often times it is largely ignored and disregarded, even among those who are professing Christians. It occupies a place on the shelf when it should occupy a place in the heart. This ought not to be. It is this indifference to the word of God that will lead to a future tragedy:
For as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. For as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Matt 24:37-39 (ESV)
Noah faithfully warned the people for years about the coming flood, yet people were indifferent to God’s warning and just went about their daily business. They only realized Noah was right when the floods came, but by then it was too late. Among those who will be lost are the foolish virgins.
Time is short, and it is a commodity we are running out of. Therefore we ought to redeem every day for the Lord and His Kingdom. The time to prepare is now (as in stock up on your oil). The wise virgins looked ahead for the coming of the bridegroom, planned accordingly and followed through. Go and do ye likewise! Later installments of the wise virgin’s guide (WVG) will give more detailed material on what to do while waiting for the Lord’s return.